Online Networking for Young Professionals
1. Be Selective. It’s not who you know, it is “who knows you back.” Connect only with friends and colleagues who will speak favorably of you, and who you will recommend to others.
2. Be a Good Friend. Create professional identity, loyalty, and a good online reputation by sharing information that is of potential interest to your contacts. You can greatly increase the value of your network by sharing what you know, an experience with a particular company or technology. A great way to learn of potential topics of interest to your friends is to create Google News Alerts or feeds that will send you automatic alerts with current information.
3. Be Polite and Cautious. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Remember that adding comments to blogs and uploading pictures can leave a permanent trail and written record on you that future employers can trace back. Posting information online is like sending a postcard — anyone can see it, and it could get in the hands of the wrong person.
4. Be Vigilant. Many employers search the Web prior to making interview invitations or employment offers, so be careful how you share your personal information. For example, never Twitter about a job offer until you’ve officially accepted, or Tweet about your plans for leaving a job. Negative comments can spread like a nasty pandemic. A general rule of thumb: if your mom would be embarrassed, publish your Tweet or status update under a pseudonym if you must. Set up a Google News Alert to monitor information about you that is available on the web — and request removal of negative comments or inaccurate information.
5. Be Transparent. Share information about your career, your interests, and what’s important to you — just update with care. The more your contacts know of your professional interests and aspirations, the more they can be of help to you.
COMMON STUMBLING BLOCKS
1. Starting your network — kind of like starting a paper, sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Find the right networking site that fits your needs and that you can navigate easily. Sites to choose from: LinkedIn.com, Ryze.com, Ecademy.com, Orkut.com, and Meetup.com.
2. Growing your network as a student — sometimes students have a hard time growing their network because they send out tons of invitations to strangers, only to get rejected the majority of the time. Solution: be selective/strategic about and research who you invite so that you know about each person and there is some commonality. The more you know about each other, the more likely they are to accept your invitation.
1. Know yourself — What are your career goals? Who is the target audience for making that happen?
2. Develop themes for your professional self-marketing strategy, such as experience, leadership qualities, analytical abilities, or devotion/knowledge/interest to a particular market
3. Set networking goals for yourself (i.e. meet 5 new people a month).
4. Utilize the connecting features each site has to offer, such as “network with me” and the “guestbook” on Ryze.
5. Join common interest networking groups, professional organizations, and affinity sites.
6. Network with active participants, especially those with gold or platinum memberships.
7. Target industries/companies that are interesting to you.
8. Find people with similar careers and interests, also diversifying a bit.
9. Try to include your email address in your profile so that people can contact you with offers!
Some information courtesy of Quintcareers